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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mara & other scandals: The buck stops with PM

Anyway you look at it, Najib, as head of the Economic Council, is ultimately responsible for approving the Dudley House deal.
COMMENT
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Anyone who’s surprised at Prime Minister Najib Razak being implicated in a scandal at this point in time is either delusional or has absolutely no access to any kind of information whatsoever. Malaysians are beginning to fall into some kind of exasperated apathy, just waiting for the announcement that Mahathir Mohamad has managed to oust Najib so that we can go one week without a scandal of some sort hitting the news.
Our Prime Minister has the gall to claim that the media twisted the statement given by Mara’s Annuar Musa. You can hear the statement in a video right here on FMT, where Annuar, in response to a query, very clearly admits that the Prime Minister approved the deal as a matter of procedure, which catapulted Mara right into the middle of an Australian investigation into international bribery and money laundering involving the purchase of a Melbourne property called Dudley House.
Annuar, when asked, “Did the Prime Minister have to approve the deal before the purchase went through?” answered confidently, “Yes, it is part of the procedure.”
That doesn’t leave a lot of room for doubt over whether the media twisted the facts. Annuar was very clear in his answer. While he later corrected himself, explaining that it was not the Prime Minister but the Economic Council of the Finance Ministry that had approved the final decision, we must consider that Najib is also our Finance Minister. This means that Najib had the power and authority, and consequentially the responsibility, to oversee such purchases and ensure they are above board.
As the man in charge, Najib knows that he has a target painted on his back. Any failure of a system reflects on the prime mover of the system. He may not be personally or directly responsible for the Dudley House purchase. However, as a leader, the mistakes of his administration are his to shoulder. The buck stops with Najib in all matters related to government. He is the man responsible for the government, in all its successes and failures, and it is from this responsibility that he can never escape, even as he attempts to shove the blame elsewhere.
Accusing the media of twisting the facts when the statement was loud and clear, when there is video evidence of it, shows that he is desperate to cling to whatever credibility he has left, and no one will respect him for it.
Najib, if you wish to bask in the glory of your administration’s successes, that means you must take on responsibility for its failures as well. That is simply part and parcel of being a leader. As our leader, regardless of whoever voted or didn’t vote for you, you have the responsibility to keep in check the various ministries and GLCs to ensure that the government’s money is used in the most efficient way possible, and surely you have the personnel to scrutinise the Dudley House deal who can advise you on whether or not the purchase was completely above board.
Ultimately, the failures of an administration can only belong to the man who stands at the top. It is hard to keep track of so many things that require immediate attention, and we understand that. However, the current deluge of scandals and controversies makes it look like Najib and his administration simply cannot get things right, with one constantly tripping up the other in an attempt to fix the situation, and making everyone look worse in the end.
We are tired of scandals.
In the Mara case, Najib loses whichever way one looks at it. If the deal was made without his knowledge, he is incompetent as head of the Economic Council. If he was complicit in it, he is corrupt.

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